Proctor Speaks Out on FSU's Attempt to Own Civic Center

By: Mike Springer Email
By: Mike Springer Email

Tallahassee March 28,2012 5:30 p.m.

A move by Governor Rick Scott could give FSU ownership of the Leon County Civic Center. But one county commissioner says not so fast.

"Florida State has demonstrated that it's exclusive for Florida State. They've shutdown things for this community," says County Commissioner Bill Proctor. "They've done a poor job. They've done not as good of a job, frankly, since they've become the new owner."

Commissioner Bill Proctor wants to block what he calls 'a backdoor legislative move' that could allow FSU ownership of the Civic Center.

"What we need is for this building to be given back to the citizens of Tallahassee and Leon County."

The Civic Center is run by the Tallahassee-Leon Civic Center Authority. FSU has seven seats on the 13-member board making it the majority member. But Proctor worries if FSU is given ownership, it won't be able to handle the Civic Center's costs.

"What makes FSU so special that the citizens of Leon County got to continue to pay the bill that they promised, if we let go of our control, authority and voice, they would take care of the bill? They're not doing it," says Proctor.

Right now, the City and County foot that bill. Under their agreement with the Civic Center, the City and County split the bill 50-50. But only if the Civic Center requests it. And payments are capped at $125,000 for each.

In the last 10 years, the City and County have paid out on the debt service agreement once. That came in 2002. The City and County split a bill of around $239,000 dollars.

There is a pending request for the City and County to each pay around $41,000. That's from a 2010 budget shortfall.

The City also pays the Civic Center $60,000 annually as part of a Utilities Service Agreement. Part of that money can be used by the City to supplement any debt the Civic Center may owe.

Proctor plans on bringing up his concerns regarding the Civic Center at the County Commissioners' meeting April 10.

FSU administrators say they want to own the Civic Center to keep it financially solvent. They also say ownership will ensure community access.

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STATEMENT FROM FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT ERIC J. BARRON

Florida State University has been silent to this point regarding the future operation of the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center because of a pending lawsuit concerning the facility. The university is not a party to this lawsuit.

Now that the lawsuit has been resolved, here is the university’s position.

The Civic Center is struggling financially and has been for some time. This year, Florida Stateprepaid more than $550,000 to help the facility remain open. We share the community’s concern in wanting the Civic Center to remain open.

· Florida State’s purpose and interest in the Civic Center is to help the facility remain afloat and for the community to continue to have access.

· For our students, the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center affords the opportunity to hold large-scale public events, such as Commencement and Convocation, as well as serving the basketball program.

· Most universities across the country, similar in mission and size to Florida State, have their own facilities to host these types of large-scale events.

· In 2011, Florida State’s Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) project list included a combined academic-arena complex. This project was removed from the university’s plans because we prefer to try to save the Civic Center, which serves as a valuable community asset.

· If Florida State does have the opportunity in the future to acquire the Civic Center, it would bond improvements, renovating the facility, allowing the Civic Center to continue to attract and host the same type of entertainment, concerts and other activities offered to the community for decades.

· Part of the university’s responsibility would be to ensure that a community board continues to serve the best interests of this community facility. There has never been any intent by Florida State to limit community access nor to limit the variety of cultural and athletic events previously offered.

· The facility is losing its shine – and without improvements cannot continue to serve the community well. If Florida State does not step in and take a leadership role in keeping the doors open, both the community and our students will lose a valued resource. We remain committed to maintaining the facility for the good of the community for many years.

· Finally, the proposed strategy is a much wiser use of public money than for the City of Tallahassee or Leon County to spend millions of dollars to update or replace this struggling enterprise.

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Tallahassee March 28,2012 5:30 p.m.

A County Commissioner is speaking out against a move that could allow FSU ownership of the Civic Center.

Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor says he's against anyone buying the Civic Center.Not just FSU. He wants the people of Leon County to control it.

"The public has invested millions of dollars. There is no reason why FSU should inherit or get this building for a dollar, or ten dollars or one hundred dollars on the cheap after citizens in this community have invested so much, " says Proctor.

Governor Rick Scott's new budget allows for FSU to gain ownership of the Civic Center. FSU says wants to own the Civic Center so it can remain afloat and for the community to continue to have access.


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  • by Mark Location: Tallahassee on Jun 6, 2012 at 05:09 PM
    I just want to clarify one thing, there is no NCAA rule that says you cannot sell alcohol on campus. It is entirely up to the university. I think FSU should build a hotel and let the Hospitality School and Sport Management Departments run that and the Civic Center.
  • by Kay on Apr 7, 2012 at 10:51 AM
    The Civic would probably improve under FSU's management. FSU builds pretty nice stuff and maintains their facilities well. Look at the Ruby Diamond. It's part of the reason the Civic Center is struggling. FSU created a superior venue for many concerts. It's funny Proctor acts like the Civic Center doesn't need FSU. Without FSU basketball and other FSU events it would have been in the red long ago and shut down already. FSU invested a lot of money into the Civic Center already and will continue to do so. If the building is going to go to fall into someone else's lap, it might as well go to FSU instead of a private company.
  • by SouthwoodII Location: Tallahassee on Mar 29, 2012 at 07:27 PM
    If the city cannot afford to run the Civic center, which stays busy, how do they think they can run a poorly planned performing arts center that the populace is generally apathetic about? If we can't afford the civic center then why are we wasting money to pay the performing arts center admin and why are we maintaining the property just so some hippies (occupy Tallahssee) can live there?
  • by north side Location: tally on Mar 29, 2012 at 04:05 PM
    The south side of tally is the nasty side the side where the most crimes take place. Instead of concerning your self wiith FSU. Call your Mr Procter and get him to help clean up the filth on the southside pleanty to do there iinstead of hating and being jealiois of FSU
  • by noles Location: north side tally on Mar 29, 2012 at 03:59 PM
    Famu is a joke Procter is a big joke. And they wonder why people laugh at him and famu. It's the actions that we all see
  • by john Location: tally on Mar 29, 2012 at 03:56 PM
    Mecq. You sound dumb. The civic center dosnt seat 70000. Lol. And famu Caint famu hasn't the need for a big time stadium. They don't draw large crowds and they have a budget shortfall. Every year in there sports programs.
  • by john Location: tally on Mar 29, 2012 at 03:50 PM
    Are u serious state build famu. A football stadium. Lol. First famu u Caint fill up that dump they call a stadium. Now. 2nd. FSU boosters pay for all upgrades at doak. Don't hate.
  • by Chris Location: Tallahassee on Mar 29, 2012 at 03:05 PM
    I'm too lazy to go through the comments to see if anyone else made this point but I'd be willing to bet six months of salary that if the school in the article read "FAMU" and not "FSU" Proctor would throw his full support behind it.
  • by Mecq on Mar 29, 2012 at 01:40 PM
    Before FSU, a part of the University System of the State Of Florida, is allowed to obtain anything else in Tallahassee. FAMU should get a NEW Football Stadium comparable to FSU's.. What does FSU need with a venue that seats 70,000 patrons. As typical...Greedy, entitled and privilaged.
    • reply
      by Thomas on Mar 29, 2012 at 02:30 PM in reply to Mecq
      Are you serious Mecq? Why should FAMU receive anything from the State? Oh that is right, so FAMU faculty and employees can line their pockets some more. Maybe if you find the 40 million that went missing a few years ago you can build your stadium. I noticed FAMU's new basketball facility sure is packin' them in. What is the average attendance 100? Not bad for an arena that seats over 9,000.
    • reply
      by a mom on Mar 29, 2012 at 04:18 PM in reply to Mecq
      FAMU definitely doesn't need a new stadium! They can't even fill up the one they have!
    • reply
      by M on Mar 29, 2012 at 04:21 PM in reply to Mecq
      Then start a campaign to acquire donations from FAMU boosters. FSU boosters/alumni pay for stadium improvements.
    • reply
      by Hey Mecq on Mar 29, 2012 at 05:04 PM in reply to Mecq
      Awfully convenient you overlook the fact that FSU generates revenue and FAMU consumes it. In other words, simpler concept; they earn it. FAMU is the home of the entitlement philosophy.
  • by mecq on Mar 29, 2012 at 01:33 PM
    I'd like share with you that my Great Uncle owned the land that the Civic Center was built. An affluant African American man. He was not a criminal, thug or hazer. The City of Tallahassee imposed emminent domain on the land and paid my Uncle what the City appraised it's worth to be. In the millions...The same Uncle also owned a portion of the land that Daok Campbell Stadium is built. Research my claim at the Tax Assesors office. Then sprew your ignorant racist garbage.
    • reply
      by Thomas on Mar 30, 2012 at 03:50 AM in reply to mecq
      You mean "affluent"? Looks like mecq is now playing the race card. Please don't cry wolf like Proctor. Do you not get it, FSU has been paying the Civic Centers debt. FSU is not getting something for nothing, like FAMU and the entitlement mentality on their campus. if I am FSU I just walk and build my own and let Proctor and Marks watch the center suck money out of their budgets. Great deal for the taxpayer right?
    • reply
      by M on Mar 30, 2012 at 05:59 AM in reply to mecq
      What is your uncle's name so we can verify your claim? And what does you claim have to do with this article? You say he was compensated. Was your uncle 'affluent?'
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 31, 2012 at 09:23 AM in reply to mecq
      So your Great Uncle owned the entire neighborhood where the civic center now sits? BS on that and about the land under Doak Campbell which FSU owned long before the stadium was built.
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